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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Grenada, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives, Watering
Title: Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing leaves steadily since I got it. They turn yellow and then fall off. I was watering it daily. Now I water it about once a week. But the leaves are still falling off. Could it be our bad water that is spoiling the plant? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is not a North American native plant species and is outside our area of expertise.  However, we may be able to help some. 

Mr. Smarty Plants once saw a cartoon of a weeping fig with the caption, "Ficus benjamina - Latin for, its leaves fall off."  Leaf drop is a universal truth of this species.  It will drop leaves in response to just about any change in its environmental condition: light, water, air temperature, relative humidity, you name it.  Leaf drop is a weeping fig's way of saying, "I don't like being messed with!"  Fortunately, ficuses rarely show any ill-effect from their leaf-shedding.  They usually soon produce new leaves and going on doing whatever the heck it is that ficuses do all day.  Watering once a week sounds about right.

 

 

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